If That's What It Takes, Les Allen

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Less a review, more a few comments on Les Allen's IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES, published in June 2022.

Set in 1982, New Zealand, the story revolves around an unlicensed private investigator who, whilst living under a false identity, forms an unlikely alliance with a small town laywer to fight dirty tricks and nefarious goings on in courtrooms and, slightly unexpectedly, rugby fields. Luckily PI Sean McBride's past experience has equipped him with a fine abilty to play dirty, if that's what it takes.

This story is very much in the spinning a yarn category of thrillers, with a wry and quite dry sense of humour, and much to be admired in the setting, characters, and themes. I have to confess that I was more that a bit impressed that rugby got so engaging for this reader, although the structure of the novel overall never quite got past a feeling of loosely connected short stories, as opposed to a seamless, connected plot with motivations that carried forward. More picky readers may also find some glaring issues with punctuation and continuity a bit of a roadblock as well.

Despite those niggles, this reader mostly enjoyed IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES, and will now be looking forward to seeing how this author's work develops in the future.


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1982, New Zealand. Sean McBride, an unlicensed private investigator living under a false identity, forms an unlikely alliance with small town lawyer Jim Mansell and his unconventional secretary Kelly.

Fighting against dirty tricks from Northland rugby fields to dusty courtrooms, they soon find themselves locked in a David and Goliath battle against unscrupulous businessmen who have no qualms in obliterating anyone in their way. Sean's past has taught him how to play dirty as well, if that's what it takes.

Blog Updates - week ending 5th January 2024
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Review If That's What It Takes, Les Allen
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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